Cavalcade of America

Cavalcade of America – History, vol. 1

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These historical dramatizations of humanitarian progress are true American hero tales featuring vintage music, intriguing interviews, and even Broadway & Hollywood adaptations.


Compass Classroom is delighted to present History, vol. 1 as part of The Cavalcade of America series for use with Dave Raymond’s American History course or as a standalone resource for your homeschool.

These historical dramatizations of humanitarian progress are true American hero tales featuring vintage music, intriguing interviews, and even Broadway & Hollywood adaptations. Be sure to check out History, vol. 2, vol. 3, and vol. 4 for even more exciting historical re-imaginings!

The Cavalcade of America was produced by the DuPont Company to burnish its motto of “Maker of better things for better living through chemistry.” The programs originally aired on CBS radio from 1935-1953, and on television from 1952-1957.

Included in this download:

  • 49 30-min MP3 files tagged for use in iTunes or similar music database

Additional information


49 Dramatizations



Access the materials at “Downloadable Products” in your Compass Classroom store account, and unzip the file to a location on your hard drive.

Once the files are unzipped, you can play the files directly on your computer. Alternatively, you can upload the files to any device which will play .mp3s. If you use iTunes or a similar music database program, you can drag the unzipped folders to the program icon and they will organize automatically by disc, which corresponds to lesson in the curriculum.

These audio files were obtained in the public domain and are provided as-is. If you have questions, get help at

Episode List

  1. They Also Serve, Originally broadcast 03/18/1936. In this episode of Cavalcade we are taken from the storm tossed seas to the smoke and flames of a burning skyscraper in order to illustrate the fortitude and quiet courage of American wives and mothers.
  2. Safety First, Originally broadcast 04/22/1936. In the Cavalcade of America the instinct for self-preservation finds expression in the slogan “safety first” or as Poor Richard puts it, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” In December 1733 Benjamin Franklin, creator of Poor Richard published an article on fire and how to extinguish them. He deplores the fact that the city has no fire company. The state of unprepared ness against fire continues until 1736 in a street in Philadelphia…
  3. Resourcefulness, Originally broadcast 05/27/1936. Cavalcade of America brings you two stories of American resourcefulness. The first one opens in 1849 the year of the great California gold rush when thousands of Americans rushed to Panama and embarked to San Francisco.
  4. Heroes Of Texas, Originally broadcast 06/17/1936. Dupont present Texas Day for the Cavalcade of America and the reason is that on June 6th the people of Texas opened their Centennial Exposition in Dallas. In 1936 the state of Texas was celebrating 100 years of independence and nearly 6 million Texans extended their hospitality to millions of visitors. “100 years ago Texas wrested her freedom from Mexico and became a free and independent republic and the Cavalcade of America salutes the people of Texas. As a tribute to their achievements presents historic scenes of the life of a man who more than any other deserves the name which a grateful posterity has bestowed upon “Father of Texas, Steven Austin.”
  5. Sentinels Of The Deep, Originally broadcast 10/14/1936. Cavalcade of America takes us to sea for a story of lighthouses and life ship manned by courageous people who are truly sentinels of the sea.
  6. Yankee Independence, Originally broadcast 12/30/1936. The facts of the story of the Charter Oak are clouded in legend. New England was colonized by who put self-government above all other ideals. Although officially under the rule of the British crown, extensive rights and privileges were given to the colonists by their charters. Connecticut people in particular came to regard their colony’s charter as a symbol of its freedom. In 1686 the Privy Council in England decided to join all New England under one government and appointed Sir Edmund Andros governor of the United Province. The story of Connecticut’s determined effort to keep its identity and protect its charter is one that has become a New England legend.
  7. The House Of Glass, Originally broadcast 03/24/1937. Henry William Segal was born in Germany in 1729 and came to Pennsylvania when he was 21 years old. He found work in Lancaster County in the heart of the region settled by the Germans now known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.
  8. Admiral Peary Discovers The Pole, Originally broadcast 04/07/1937. Cavalcade pays tribute to another gallant American pioneer, a man whose stubborn tenacity of purpose triumphs over years of heartbreaking failure carrying him to the fulfilment of a dream. That man was Robert E. Peary most famous of all arctic explorers who devoted 23 years of his life to the achievement of one ambition and his dogged determination has been an inspiration to other explorers and to men in other fields of endeavor.
  9. The Golden Touch, Originally broadcast 04/21/1937. Among America’s well known men are many who came from Europe to try their fortunes and make their homes in this land of opportunity. One of the most appealing and important of these was a German-Swiss named John A. Sutter. Although he is known chiefly because gold was discovered on his California property Sutter’s life was actually spent as a pioneer, a homemaker and a farmer.
  10. The Pine Tree Shilling, Originally broadcast 06/23/1937. This is the story of the pine tree shilling the first coin to be minted in America. Since their arrival in the new world the settlers had depended on the odd assortment of foreign coins that found their way in to the colonies. This first coinage was one of the things that gave the colonists a sense of freedom which finally lead to the creation of an independent nation.
  11. William Penn And The Holy Experiment, Originally broadcast 10/13/1937. This is the story of William Penn and how he came to America in the seventeenth century and founded Pennsylvania the colony the contributed much towards our achievement of independence. This Quaker pioneer greatly influenced the trend of our national thought and the structure of our constitutional government and always working for the betterment of humanity.
  12. The Constitution Of The United States, Originally broadcast 12/08/1937. December 7th 1937 was the 150th anniversary of the first state to ratify the constitution of the United States. Delaware was that state and in honor of this event the story of the Constitution Of The United States and its inceptions was the subject of this broadcast on 12/08/1937.
  13. The Glory Of The Vanquished, Originally broadcast 12/15/1937. In the lives of certain great men, we have the proof that in a losing fight, there may be glory never achieved in victory. Such a man was Edward Livingstone Trudo, born in New York City in 1848. After graduating from the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, he began to practice in 1871. He had been an active, vigorous youth, but during his 25th year, he began to feel ill. He finally consulted Dr Janeway, a famous New York physician. But it’s not good news…
  14. The Story Of Sam Houston, Originally broadcast 01/09/1940. Pulitzer prize winning biography by Marquis James. It is the drama of a great colorful American character introduced by Dr Frank Monaghan Professor of History at Yale University. Sam Houston did not realize that the events of a January day in 1829 would shatter his own pattern of life and shape the course of American history. When Houston was born George Washington was President and at the time of his death Abraham Lincoln was guiding the nation through a civil war. Sam Houston in his time was many things, school teacher, soldier, lawyer, he was the governor of Tennessee a united States senator, the first president of the republic of Texas. At one time he seemed scheduled for the presidency of the United States.
  15. Tisquantum, Strange Friend Of The Pilgrims, Originally broadcast 01/23/1940. The story of an Indian who was captured by Spanish slave traders and who eventually came to live in London. He returned to America to teach the Pilgrims how to survive in the new world. The program closing has been deleted. Some 37 miles south of Boston where the south shore becomes Cape Cod there is a granite boulder two-thirds embedded in New England earth. This rock is neither a Gibraltar nor a Coupe Quebec but it is a symbol of a glorious American tradition.Generations of Americans have gone to Plymouth and have meditated upon the simple figures 1620 carved in the rock surface. We all know some parts of the dramatic story of our pilgrim fathers but only a very few are acquainted with an early and genuine American hero, Tisquantum. It is possible that without Tisquantum Plymouth rock would have no meaning for us today.
  16. Thomas Jefferson, Originally broadcast 01/30/1940. The story of how Mr. Jefferson came to draft the Declaration of Independence; well told. This is the story of Thomas Jefferson. What he has wrote has launched millions throughout the world on a quest to what he described as ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.
  17. Abraham Lincoln-the War Years, Originally broadcast 02/13/1940. A well-done portrait of the president, Raymond Massey’s most famous role.
  18. Anne Royall, Originally broadcast 02/20/1940. Ethel Barrymore stars as Anne Royall the little old woman who lived in Andrew Jackson’s day and risked everything she had her hopes for to defend the principle of freedom of speech.
  19. The Stolen General, Originally broadcast 03/05/1940. The story of how Colonel William Barton celebrated the first 4th of July by kidnapping the British General Prescott in 1777. The names of several minor characters in the dThis is the story of America’s first anniversary of the Fourth of July and stars John Garfield’s in one of his rare radio appearances playing the role of Colonel William Barton. The story begins on the afternoon of July 3rd 1777.
  20. Daniel Boone, Originally broadcast 04/16/1940. This is the story of the great American frontiers man Daniel Boone. When america moved west Daniel Boone led America. Wherever he went people seemed to follow. He was the frontiers man and his fame was world wide at his death in 1820. His legend is the common property of every American and he has been immortalized in Lord Byron’s poem Don Juan in these lines, “Of the great names which in our faces stare, The General Boone, back-woodsman of Kentucky, Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere.” Daniel Boone typified the eternal pioneering spirit of American and tonight he takes his rightful place in the Cavalcade of America.
  21. Robert E. Lee, Originally broadcast 04/23/1940. A portrait of the southern general during the Civil War. Several descendants of General Lee as well as members of the Richmond Theatre Guild appear in the drama. Today we look back upon the life of a courageous, gentle and lovable character. A man who throughout his life and forever more, stands as a bright symbol of the indomitable spirit of the south. His name stirs the hearts of men, for it holds in it the pride the world takes in honor and virtue, and the spirit of human goodness and aspiration. The year is 1861, and the nation is being torn apart due to the secession of several Southern states…
  22. The Story Of Tom Paine, Originally broadcast 04/30/1940. The life of patriot Thomas Paine, his pamphlets, and dedication to freedom in all lands. Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. He was the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, Common Sense and The American Crisis. He was encouraged by Benjamin Franklin to emigrate to the New World, to be a voice of the American Revolution. He inspired the Patriots to declare independence from Britain in 1776. Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. He was the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, Common Sense and The American Crisis. He was encouraged by Benjamin Franklin to emigrate to the New World, to be a voice of the American Revolution. He inspired the Patriots to declare independence from Britain in 1776.
  23. The Story Of Nancy Hanks, Originally broadcast 05/07/1940. The DuPont commercial features a fascinating description of the DuPont exhibit at the New York World’s Fair. The life story of the mother of Abraham Lincoln is dramatized.
  24. Ann Rutledge and Lincoln, Originally broadcast 10/23/1940. The story of the president’s first great love affair.
  25. Dr. Franklin Goes To Court, Originally broadcast 11/13/1940. This is the story of the greatest triumph in American diplomacy… It’s a September night in the year 1776, at a small inn in New Brunswick, New Jersey, two gentlemen by the light of a lamp follow the innkeeper to an upstairs room. One is John Adams, the other is Benjamin Franklin. They’re on their way to meet with an English commander, Lord Howe, to discuss peace…
  26. John Brown, Originally broadcast 12/11/1940. This is the story of John Brown, the strange zealot who stalked the land in the cause of abolition. John Brown is a legend, but that legend was a man, a wrathful, white bearded giant of a man, rangy of frame and with eyes that burned relentlessly, mercilessly with prophetic fire. It was late in the year of 1855 that John Brown strode into the territory of Kansas. There were a dozen men lounging around the stove at the Border Inn, and there were rifles across their knees. At the knock on the door, the innkeeper scurried to answer…
  27. The Undefended Border, Originally broadcast 12/18/1940. A well-done radio sound portrait of the early relations between the United States and Canada. One of the most inspiring chapters in the western hemisphere is the long peace that has existed between the United States and Canada. This symbolical play was written to celebrate this peace, and is based upon historical facts. All over the world there are borders between countries. They may be rivers or mountains, or they may be no more than lines on a map, but in a time of war, they are ravaged lands, a no-mans lands. Even in times of peace, the guns still look at each other. But between New Brunswick to Puget Sound, there runs a border between two great nations of proud people, individual people, people with their own customs and beliefs and ways, and that border has not one fort, not one ship of battle, not one hidden or useable gun.
  28. As A Man Thinketh, Originally broadcast 01/15/1941. The story of Thomas Cooper, the man who tested the Sedition Act of President Adams, and went to jail to support his beliefs. This weeks show celebrates the life of one of America’s great apostles of freedom, Thomas Cooper. It is dedicated to those Americans whose personal sacrifice and heroism secured for our nation its great heritage of free speech, the free press, and the right for a man to say what he thinks.
  29. Henry Clay Of Kentucky, Originally broadcast 02/05/1941. Henry Clay tries to compromise once again to preserve the Union. Cavalcade Theater present Henry Clay of Kentucky, an original radio drama by Garrett Porter a story of a great American statesman who said I’d rather be right than President. Ray Collins plays the part of Henry Clay.
  30. Plain Mr. President, Originally broadcast 02/19/1941. George Washington journeys from Mount Vernon to New York to wearily begin the tasks of the President of the United States.
  31. Voice In The Wilderness, Originally broadcast 03/05/1941. One evening late in the year 1667, in a coffee house off Fleet Street in the City of London, Sir William Pen, an admiral and politician of the House of Commons, discusses with his peers the shame he feels so acutely over his son, William Penn, who he has disinherited for his beliefs in religious freedom and the Quakers. An outcast in his homeland, William sets out to the free air of a new land, America, where he is instrumental in the founding of Pennsylvania, the province which was named after him.
  32. Theodosia Burr, Originally broadcast 05/12/1941. The story of Aaron Burr’s loyal daughter who supported her father’s political views, even through his trial for treason. We’d like to tell you the story of the woman, who worshipped a man who was wrong. The woman is Theodosia Burr, the man is her father, Aaron Burr. In the American way of life, Burr was wrong. He dreamed of an empire and what was to become part of the United States. Yet his daughter Theodosia, knowing the evil, to say nothing of the folly of her father’s ambitions, believed in him almost to the end. Why? The answer to that question lies in our play…
  33. David Crockett, Originally broadcast 05/19/1941. Today’s story is about a man named Davy Crockett, part history and part legend. He, and men like him, gave their lives to build this nation where once the winds were lonely, and the earth silent. Tucked away in a pleasant corner of space. Away where time has no meaning, there’s a part of the promised land, reserved for Americans, where all comers are allowed to wander where they want. Everywhere that is, except this one cloud, on which there is a sign which says ‘Reserved’, and another saying ‘Only Legends Allowed Here’. That’s the cloud where John Henry lives, and Paul Bunyan, Huckleberry Finn and Pecos Bill and Daniel Boone, and recently, Davy Crockett climbed aboard this cloud. He had a hard job getting there though!
  34. Anna Ella Carroll, Originally broadcast 06/02/1941. The story of Anna Ella Carroll, who convinced Lincoln to appoint Grant to command the Union Army.
  35. Young Andrew Jackson, Originally broadcast 06/09/1941. Andrew Jackson was a hard fisted young lawyer in the wilderness, who fought hard for the American way of life, and equal justice under the law in the frontiers of the expanding republic. The story begins in the year 1789. At a huddle of log cabins in a wilderness clearing called Nashville, in a section of Indian territory known as Tennessee, a young lawyer is nailing his sign over his cabin door, when his friend Sam Fowler, a fellow lawman arrives to greet him…
  36. Annie Oakley, Originally broadcast 06/16/1941. The story of the gallant lady marksman and her rise to fame.
  37. Anne Hutchinson, Originally broadcast 07/14/1941. A dramatization of the trial and expulsion of the outspoken woman in her fight for religious freedom in the Massachusetts colony.
  38. Clifford Holland, Originally broadcast 07/28/1941. Battery Place, Manhattan, a few years after the turn of the century. A horse drawn ambulance careens around the corner and draws up to treat a man, who everyone assumes is drunk, until a gentleman called Clifford Holland intervenes. The man isn’t drunk, he has been working in the Hudson River tunnels, and is actually suffering from decompression sickness. They need to get him back in the tunnels, and quickly!
  39. Stephen Arnold Douglas, Originally broadcast 08/18/1941. From the prairies of our nation from the Illinois farmlands came Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, two men across whose lives fell the shadows of this union. Here Dupont for the Cavalcade of America brings you the story of Stephen A. Douglas in a radio play, Eve of Conflict, adapted from the biography by George Fort Milton.
  40. Geronimo, Originally broadcast 09/08/1941. The story of the famous Apache chieftain who battled General Miles of the Cavalry.
  41. City Of Illusion, Originally broadcast 09/15/1941. The story of the fabulous Comstock silver mine in Virginia City, Nevada, and “The Queen of the Comstock.” + “Ghost town, city of illusion, wind echoing in the yawning pit head of abandoned mines, wind shrieking among shadows that once were miners shacks, millionaires mansions, saloons, an opera house, a fine gingerbread hotel this is Virginia City ghost of the gutted Comstock lode the biggest bonanza in history.” On the Cavalcade of America Dupont presents the story of the legendary Comstock and of Eilley Bowers the woman who played so great a part in its making. Based on the book City of Illusions by: Vardis Fisher (1941)
  42. Bolivar The Liberator, Originally broadcast 10/06/1941. The story of the liberator of Venezuela and hero in other parts of South America.
  43. Captain Paul, Originally broadcast 10/27/1941. This is the story of the great American naval hero, John Paul Jones. The year is 1775, in the great hallway of an old mansion in his majesty’s colony of Virginia. John Paul Jones would like to ask for the hand of Dorothea, but her father refuses, as he wishes her to marry a gentleman – not a sailor! He sets out to prove her father wrong, and asks her to wait for his return…
  44. The Great Man Votes, Originally broadcast 12/15/1941. In the week of December 15th 1941 America was celebrating its 150th anniversary of its charter of human liberties, the Bill of Rights and so Cavalcade of America has chosen as its story that RKO picture The Great Man Votes. It is the story of a little man who while destiny smiles became a great man because of his country and the liberty and rights he had in his country and because he understood the full value of those human rights in terms of liberty and human hope.
  45. The Gorgeous Hussy, Originally broadcast 12/29/1941. A story of political intrigue within the Jackson administration. Peggy Eaton, a woman of humble beginnings, alienates Washington society while helping Andrew Jackson defeat his opponents.
  46. The Gentleman From Paris, Originally broadcast 01/12/1942. The Gentleman From Paris is the story of the Marquis de Lafayette, a symbol of liberty for two worlds. History has recorded for all time the high resolve, triumphant over every object, which brought him from Europe to the shores of the new world. Here in America he saw and was a part of the birth of the new order of freedom, a precious privilege for which men would gladly sacrifice and fight and die.
  47. A Continental Uniform, Originally broadcast 04/13/1942. The story of Benedict Arnold and his treason. The broadcast originates from Hollywood. A Continental Uniform is a story of a great American patriot and hero who through personal grievances and frustrations came to gather the seed of his own corruption along the way and finally because there could be no turning back on the devious road he had travelled alone reaped the bitter harvest of his treason. It is the story of Benedict Arnold.
  48. In This Crisis, Originally broadcast 04/20/1942. The story of Thomas Paine and his contributions to the freedoms of America. A good show.
  49. Young Tom Jefferson, Originally broadcast 05/25/1942. A wonderful and insightful story of Thomas Jefferson’s life, and the experiences, injustices, human miseries and recollection of ideas he’d had – all of which influenced him and helped him to write the Declaration of Independence. The story begins with the story of a Negro slave named Jed, who spoke freely with Thomas Jefferson about his desire to live a simple life, where he can work hard, and have a family of his own.


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